our trustees

meet the Ribble Rivers Trust trustees

The Ribble Rivers Trust trustees are the people have overall control of our charity. It’s a trustees responsibility to make sure that the charity is carrying out the purposes for which it is set up, and no other purpose. They also help us comply with charity law, manage our resources responsibly, act with reasonable care and skill, and ensure we’re always accountable.

Our trustees also use their skills and experience to support our work, help us make important decisions, and give us advice and guidance. Trustees are also sometimes known as directors, board members, governors, or committee members.

Jeff Cowburn, Chair

Jeff has been our Chair since 2022 and, as a Ribble Valley resident and business person, Jeff brings a range of skill sets to the Trust. Starting out as an apprentice in an engineering firm, Jeff worked through the ranks. Eventually he secured a position as the CEO of Training 2000. Training 2000 has trained thousands of apprentices and employees of major national and international companies. Additionally, it also employs hundreds of it’s own staff.

Jeff has also been a magistrate, Director of Learning and Skills Council Lancashire, and a member of the Learning and Skills Council national funding advisory committee.  In addition, Jeff has been involved in a number of other charities, with a particular emphasis on young people and the arts.  Jeff’s extensive charity management skills and experience from operational structures to charity governance. When combined with his passion for encouraging learning and natural environment (particularly local rivers), Jeff provides a key niche skill complementing the range of other skills within the Board of Trustees.

Alan Rowntree, Treasurer

Another resident of the Ribble Valley, Alan has intimate knowledge of the River Ribble from Clitheroe to Long Preston. This is partly due to his affinity with the countryside, but also due to his passion for fishing. In fact, this passion has taken him to an uncountable number of rivers and streams, from local becks to wild rivers.

Alan’s professional career was as an accountant in practice. In 2012 he retired as a senior partner from Beever and Struthers Chartered Accountants and Business Advisors. However, Alan still occasionally works as a part-time consultant for the firm.  Alan’s experience and knowledge of financial management and accounting extend beyond business and he has extensive knowledge of charity accounts.  In addition to being one of the Ribble Rivers Trust trustees he is a trustee of two other charitable trusts.  Alan was also the part-time Bursar of Blackburn Cathedral for 25 years and was honoured with an MBE in recognition.

Cllr. Jan Alcock JP

Jan recently joined our board of Trustees and has already been a much valued contributor to the Trust’s governance. As Borough Councillor for Hurst Green & Whitewell, Jan has her finger on the pulse of local issues with an extensive network of colleagues and businesses in the Lancashire area. Within her role as a councillor Jan is a member of numerous committees, all centred around improving local communities.

As a retired school teacher, Jan also brings some very welcome skills to the Trust. Despite being retired, Jan always has her red pen handy whenever we need any documents checking! Jan’s firm but fair attitude and logical thinking also help to guide our decision making, ensuring we take a objective view on various subject matters. A local resident, Jan is passionate about the area she represents and strives to improve the Ribble catchment, and wider area, for all the residents; both human and animal.

John Bleasdale

John lives in Barton, a village just outside of Preston. John’s career is truly impressive, including practicing law as a solicitor for over 40 years, being a Senior Crown Prosecutor, a partner in private practice, and Legal Director of TNT UK Limited. This experience, along with John’s inquiring nature, is invaluable to Ribble Rivers Trust and the rest of the trustees.

As a resident of the lower part of the Ribble catchment, John helps us to ensure we see the bigger picture and stay connected with the whole of our catchment. However, at the core of his role as a trustee is maintaining the health of the river Ribble and its’ tributaries is in all our interests. In his spare time John s involved in various roles, but does enjoy his limited success whilst occasionally trying his hand fishing.

Dominic Bradley

Dom is currently a senior consultant at an international firm and specialises in flood defence project management.  A local resident of Longridge, he was previously a committee member of Longridge cricket club, including a role focusing on fund raising and engaging the local community.  Dom provides vital project management, construction and river management skills to the Trust.

Mike Ellacott

Mike Ellacott is a keen canoeist and has explored many of the tidal rivers in the UK. He joined ICI as a Physicist and held various positions in Research, Production Management, Sales and Marketing. On retiring from ICI he founded Enterprise For All (E4A) which provided Business skills to more than 3000 students across the UK. This experience is now being used to help advance the Educational aspects of the Trust’s activities.

Philip Lord

Philip is one of our longest serving trustees, and one of the founders of Ribble Rivers Trust. In fact, Philip served as our chair for 25 years, before passing leadership onto Jeff in 2022. In this same year Philip was awarded a BEM. Philip’s working life centred around the expansion and management of the families building and maintenance company, which he sold and retired from in 2007. The business acumen that helped propel his business forward now provides us with vital skills and experience in all aspects of senior management, as well as experience in charity management and fund raising.

A resident of the Ribble Valley for over 40 years, Philip has detailed knowledge of the Hodder catchment and plays an active part in the local community. Over four decades Philip developed a renowned woodland garden with a variety of woodland plants and species, within which he held successful open days raising funds for Charity. Philip us also a keen angler, whose passion for the outdoors has taken him around the world. However, he is always happy to return to the Hodder valley.

Harvey Marchbank

A founding trustee of Ribble Trust, Harvey was a volunteer project manager for the Trust until 2006.  Harvey’s background in project management and construction, as well as a detailed knowledge of both Lancashire and Yorkshire parts of the Ribble catchment provide a valuable asset to the Trust.

Jeremy Rawkins

Jeremy has lived in the Ribble Valley the whole of his life, and his roots are deeply entrenched here. After a brief period of tertiary education in Liverpool Jeremy practiced as a solicitor for twenty years before being appointed as a Judge of the Northern Circuit in 1994, serving for a period of 22 years before retiring from the judiciary in 2016. During this time Jeremy sharpened his skills, and now provides us with thorough and in depth insights into various subject matters, and helps to provide an unmatched level of detail, insight, and assurance.

In addition to being associated with and raising funds for a number of national and local charities, he is currently chair of the Hodder Consultative, which works closely with the Trust. He has fished with unremitting enthusiasm, though modest return, on our local waters and further afield, for over half a century and has been the Chairman of the Whitewell Fishing Association for a number of years.

Dave Wilmot

Dave is a precision engineer at an international engineering and manufacturing company and became a trustee of Ribble Rivers Trust in 2009. Born and brought up in Clitheroe, Dave has spent almost his entire life walking and fishing the rivers and streams of the central Ribble Catchment. 

As a true Clitheronian, Dave is a great knowledge of the local area, the communities that live here, and the problems that our catchment is facing. This, combined with his logical and engineering approach, makes him a significant asset to Ribble Trust. However, we aren’t the only ones benefitting from Dave’s knowledge! His passion for fishing and the outdoors means he acts for various other organisations, including as secretary a large local angling club, a committee member and instructor at Clitheroe Canoe Club, and a mentor for the unemployed young people through Prince’s Trust.

Lynn Yates

As one of our newer Trustees, Lynn provides a refreshing point of view and has the ability to look at the Trust’s governance with a fresh set of eyes. As well as a knowledge of the catchment and passion for wildlife Lynn is also one of the Trust’s longest serving and most dedicated volunteers, contributing countless hours to the monitoring of her local rivers and streams.

Lynn now helps us with various areas of our governance. However, it is Lynn’s experience as a volunteer that really helps us. By looking at everything we do from both the view of a Trustee and the view of a volunteer and citizen scientist, Lynn helps us strike a balance between river conservation and community engagement. Thanks to Lynn’s understanding of multiple aspects of the Trust’s work she helps us to keep the wildlife and human communities of the Ribble catchment at the forefront of our work.